22Aug2015

Kids Astronomy Night In The Hastings

Boy Viewing Credit D.Reneke

A special viewing night mixing old and traditional astronomical ideas and values

Next to Dinosaurs kids lover space the best. Just ask any teacher. There are very few children I’ve ever met that don’t love to talk about stars, planets, moons, comets, and asteroids.

And the questions they ask put adults to shame. Kids have amazing memories and are fantastic at learning patterns and associating the names with them. Perfect for constellations! When teaching children about stars astronomy book courses aren’t enough. Make your lessons as interactive as possible because everything in their world now is in animated form.

Teaching children astronomy has received a boost with the internet and Smartphone technology. It wasn’t like that when most of us were kids. Here are some apps I use that will help. Designed for kids aged 4-8, Star Walk Kids introduces youngest audiences to the wonders of our Universe. Selected objects are explained in short animated films voiced by professional actors.

OK, Google ‘Nasa Kids Club’ then try www.kidsastronomy.com. Afterwards, check out an amazing website I’ve spent many hours on in the past, www.enchantedlearning.com. Teachers just love this one, and you will too. For a broader choice of online and printable astronomical resources see the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Be sure to click on the ‘education’ section OK.

Family group

Family group setting up for a night’s viewing

The night sky can fire up the imagination of children in a way few other subjects can. Kids of all ages find it hard to resist the temptation to explore these jewels that glitter overhead in our dark western skies this time of year. So, what are you waiting for?

To help my local area get started our group, Mid North Coast Astronomy, have been invited to take part in a special astronomy program for local kids called ‘Invitation to Sky Stories.’ An initiative of Charles Sturt University in conjunction with local public schools in the Hastings Valley, Sky Stories is a project that uses astronomy to engage students in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics .

Sky Stories looks at astronomy with a blended Indigenous and Western perspective. The intention is to deepen understanding of the night sky, how we use the sky now and in the past to navigate and as a calendar. As such, three of our local schools invite you to a community event on Friday 21st August this year.

Scope

Never too young to get started

It will be held at Sancrox Reserve, Colvin Street Sancrox, from 5 -8pm. All the community is invited to bring along their own telescopes and binoculars, as well as their mobile phones, iPads and tablets, or make use of our telescopes, to explore the night sky. Join us for a BBQ, some story-telling and star gazing.

I’ll be doing a laser guided sky tour and Mid North Coast Astronomy will have telescopes set-up all over the field. Experts will be on hand to answer your astronomy questions, help you with your technology and explore the Indigenous use of the sky.

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